Site about the fight against domestic insects

Head lice: detailed photos and features of biology of parasites

Знакомимся особенностями биологии и внешнего вида головных вшей: фотографии, интересные факты и потенциальная опасность для человека...

The head louse is a long-known and rather specific human parasite. This insect "chose" for its habitation is the scalp, successfully infecting both adults and children, and therefore in general head lice are considered more common and numerous than other related species - pubic lice.

In addition to humans, head lice can not parasitize any other animals . The reason for this is a very high degree of fitness for lice to live and reproduce precisely on human hair, and this exceptional fitness is manifested both in the appearance of lice and in the characteristics of their biology as a whole.

Below in the photo - head lice close-up:

Головная вошь при сильном увеличении

Головная вошь на пучке волос

It is interesting

The pubic louse in the past few decades has become quite rare, and many experts even believe that it can soon become a vanishing species. This is due to the improvement in the sanitary conditions of life for a growing number of people, as well as to the popularity of the "bikini" haircut on the pubic area, because of which lice, in principle, are deprived of their normal habitats. But the fashion for shaved heads is not particularly spread, and therefore a normal habitat for head lice is found almost everywhere where there are people.

An interesting evolutionary phenomenon was the emergence of a separate form of head lice, which moved to clothing, and the human body moves only for feeding - this is the so-called louse (otherwise - lingerie). For many centuries that people wear clothes, this form of parasite has managed to acquire some changes in the structure of the legs and the general way of life that allow it to feel great on clothes.

Платяная вошь, в отличие от головной, приспособлена к жизни на одежде человека

Множество платяных вшей на одежде (их также часто называют бельевыми вшами)

In laboratories, the head and head lice are able to successfully interbreed and give fertile offspring. However, under natural conditions on the human body, they are almost always isolated from each other, and therefore become less and less like one another.

It is interesting

Separation of head lice into two forms is a unique precedent that allows scientists in real time to observe the process of formation of a new species of insects. Even more interesting is that it is the activity of a person and the appearance of clothing that is the main condition for the isolation of clothing lice. It is possible that head and ward lice will take quite a bit of time to become completely different species - in this case, one can safely say that a person with his own way of life involuntarily spawned a new parasite.

Knowing well how lice look on a person's head, one can be able to determine the presence of parasites even before they cause quite a lot of trouble. Below are several photos of head lice, as well as nits, which are usually the first to catch sight of the infected head:

Головная вошь: вид сбоку

Хитиновый покров головных вшей полупрозрачный, что позволяет рассмотреть содержимое их тела

Так выглядит множество гнид на волосах при запущенном педикулезе


"When the first time Dasha brought lice from school, I was shocked. At my very first time in my parents, my lice were taken out, but I thought today this problem is no longer relevant at all. It turns out that lousy children regularly appear in the school, especially after the summer holidays. The first few weeks of lice are not visible, and then the child begins to scratch his head, his white spots appear. This is a nit. And the child is embarrassed to say that his lice - everyone will laugh. These are usually not even allowed to go to school before they are cured. It's good that it's easy to get them out. I took MediFox, did everything according to the instructions, and combed Dasha's hair with a special comb for three more days. But if it happens somewhere in the village, then you need to use kerosene, which is dangerous - the child can damage his hair. It's good for parents with boys, they can just shave their baby's head, and all problems will be solved by themselves. "

Anna, Novosibirsk

How does the head louse look like: photos and pictures

The head louse is a small insect. The length of the body of an adult specimen is 2-4 mm, and in a nymph (the so-called larva of a louse) - from 0.7 to 2 mm. The lice have a light brown color, which allows them to successfully mask themselves on the scalp and in the hair.

Below the photo shows adult head lice and several eggs (nits):

Головные вши, их личинки и яйца (гниды) на светлой поверхности

After being saturated with blood, the body of the louse becomes red:

Тело вши после укуса становится красным от крови

There are no wings in lice, and neither can they fly nor jump far. But while lice quickly enough move through the hair and the scalp, thanks to which, even with short contacts of hair, different people manage to move to a new victim.


"My Vanya picked up lice for the first time in two years - he did not go to the kindergarten and got infected, probably from one of the children on the street where we all walk together. I was already shaking all over when I saw them. Such filth! Still thought, what is it together with lice fleas sit - those, that white, are lice, and those which red are fleas. Only then it dawned upon me that the red ones were lice, only with blood in their stomachs. God, I had hysterics then, well, my mother-in-law was next to me, and calmed me, and quickly did everything - went to the pharmacy, bought chemically water and then myself sat in the bathroom with Vanya, while lice were poisoned ... "

Albina, Moscow

Head lice have a rather characteristic body shape - an elongated abdomen and forelegs extended forward. With an unaided look, the lice on their heads look like small ants, but on closer examination it is clear that they have a more massive abdomen. In the photo below, you can see how the head louse looks when magnified under a microscope:

Головная вошь на волосах под микроскопом

Еще одно фото головной вши, сделанное под электронным микроскопом

Larvae of lice (nymphs) are lighter and are characterized by translucent coverings of the body. Due to this, after saturation with blood in the center of their abdomen appears a dark spot - translucent contents of the stomach. From adult lice nymphs also differ in smaller sizes.

Below are some more photos of head lice:

Фотография вши на волосах

Видно, что паразит не так давно напился крови

It is interesting

The structure of the head lice body is typical for insects, but it also has features. Her legs have pincer segments at the end, allowing the insect to easily grab a bunch of hair. The picture shows a head louse with a large increase: on its head there are small antennae, and the abdomen of the insect has uneven edges. It is interesting that the lice are underdeveloped eyes, and from their senses they rely mainly on the sense of smell.

На картинке хорошо видно строение тела головной вши

But especially known nits are louse eggs. They are very small - just over half a millimeter in length - and are glued to the hair by a female lice. Actually, it is the nits that first of all come to your eyes, and therefore it is easiest for them to determine that a person is infected with lice.

Гниды прочно приклеиваются самкой вши к волосу с помощью специального твердеющего на воздухе вещества


"I did not see the lice first in the child, but their shit. A nightmare, I thought it was just some kind of rubbish, but he always appears. Such tiny black dots, that if the hair were thicker, they would not have been noticed. Started picking at Lidochka in my head - and found. First, nits on the hair, and then the lice themselves. Disgusting sight - they are so white, translucent. I do not know how other mothers after that still read something on the Internet, they will find out. I already in ten minutes bought a shampoo in the pharmacy, so I could take this muck out of my daughter ... "

Elena, Yaroslavl

Head lice in children look exactly the same as in adults. In many cases, it is from children that adults become infected with these parasites in kindergartens, schools and recreation areas.

When the lice are infected, the head often acquires a characteristic untidy appearance. No matter how insignificant head lice are, their nits with a lot of it are immediately apparent - they look like dandruff or just white sand in your hair.

Саму вошь можно и не заметить при осмотре головы, но гниды сразу бросаются в глаза

The following photos show how the head lice and nits on the hair look:

Так выглядят взрослая головная вошь и нимфа (личинка)

Гнида на волосе

From other parasites, lice differ primarily in size - mites and bedbugs are larger than them (the small larvae of bedbugs, also having translucent chitinous integuments of the body, are slightly similar to lice). Fleas, slightly similar to lice, jump well and never multiply on the head.

In general, infection with lice is sometimes more like not the presence of parasites on the head, but a kind of skin disease - parents often confuse the symptoms of the presence of lice in a child with allergies.

Below the photo shows the lice on the head of the child:

Головная вошь среди волос ребенка

Lifestyle and Nutrition Features of Head Lice

The human head louse is a typical hematophagus . In other words, the only food suitable for this parasite is human blood. The louse sucks it, piercing the skin and the wall of the blood vessel with a special oral organ.

It is interesting

Close relatives of head lice are withers in animals. They feed on both blood and secretions of the skin glands of their hosts, as well as pieces of dying skin. These parasites are generally easier to feed on blood than head lice, since most animals have wool covered areas of skin with a large number of blood vessels beneath it. On the human head, blood vessels are not everywhere equally easily accessible, and therefore lice are usually the most numerous in the neck and behind the ears.

At one time the louse sucks about 0.5 mg of blood, and should eat every four to five hours. When sucking blood, the louse injects saliva into the wound, the enzymes of which prevent blood coagulability and facilitate its flow over the insect's proboscis. These enzymes in many cases cause the appearance of characteristic blue spots in the places of lice bites, as well as allergic reactions in the victim.

The photo shows how the lice on their heads look like during a bite:

Вошь во время укуса

Каждая вошь выпивает незначительное количество крови, но когда паразитов на голове много - общий эффект может быть существенным.


"We noticed for a long time that the little one constantly scratches his head, but thought it was dandruff or some kind of allergy. I even bought medicinal shampoos. Once on a skin in hair has noticed any grayish maculae, and has then read, that such louses leave. I started looking for - and really, it's lice. There were not many of them, but they came across, and the nits were on their hair. Before that, I never knew what the lice looked like on the head of a child, but here they themselves were sitting on their hair. "

Lidiya, Rostov-on-Don

The following video shows how the circulatory system of head lice functions (under a microscope):

The optimum temperature for lice is 31-32 ° C, which is maintained in the thick human hair. At this temperature, the louse dies without food for 2-3 days, and if the temperature drops to + 10 ° C, it can starve before 10 days

It is interesting

Lice are resistant to hypoxia and can survive up to two days, falling into the water. Therefore, you can not kill the parasites by washing your hair, as well as strangling them by diving under the water.

Lice on the head of a man live permanently, without changing its location. Unlike other parasites crawling onto the human body only for feeding, the head lice have adapted to the constant presence on the head, and therefore they are very sensitive to both temperature changes and hunger strikes.

Here are a few more photos of lice and nits on your head:

Головная вошь может ловко ползать по волосам благодаря наличию специальных выростов на лапках

Вошь среди волос

It is interesting

Another parasite that has passed to complete dependence on the human body is the itch mite. To solve the problem of preserving eggs, it is introduced under the skin and there it lays its eggs.

Adult lice live on the order of 30-40 days, and larvae develop about 15 days. With a decrease in the temperature of the environment, these terms increase.

Lice on the head are held mainly near the roots of the hair, in the zone of the highest temperatures. Only the females crawl up their hair for laying eggs, climbing to a height of 2-3 cm from the skin. In general, the parasite feels more confident precisely on hairs, to which it can attach very tightly. In this position, the head louse (and especially the small nymph) looks just like a small growth and is hardly noticeable.

Личинок вшей бывает довольно сложно разглядеть среди волос


"I do not know where all these doctors on duty in the camps are there - both my children and three of my friends came from the camp with lice. And they do not even need to be looked for in the hair - the entire hairstyle is sprinkled with snow, hanging on each nest. That's terrible. I called the organizers of the trip, pushed everyone there, said that I will complain about the whole camp to the SES. So they apologized then all in turn, from the director to the driver of the camp bus. They sent me a box of chocolates and some sort of cream from lice. No, well, not mockery? "

Lilia, Odessa

Reproduction of head lice

Lice lay their nits directly on the hair. Thanks to the sticky secret, which quickly hardens in the air, the egg sticks to the hair, which ensures better preservation of the future offspring. Some lice remedies, including vinegar and cranberry juice, soften the sticky substance, so it is easier to comb the nits out of the hair after such treatment.

Each female lays about 100-120 eggs for its life, approximately 4 eggs per day. Development of the egg lasts 5 days, another about 15 days grows out of the larva. The larva is very similar to an adult insect and differs from it only by the absence of genital organs and smaller body size.

Below in the photo it is clearly visible how the eggs of lice on the head (nits) look :

Гниды, прикрепленные к волосам, - не что иное, как яйца вшей

The entire reproduction cycle at 32 ° C lasts about 18 days, a minimum of 16. Its duration is influenced by temperature (on short hair in the winter, the development of nits can generally be suspended, and the whole cycle can be stretched for months), and the availability of food. It is known that in people suffering from dermatological diseases of the scalp with the formation of dense crusts, the development of lice lasts longer.

The picture below shows the life cycle of the head louse:

Жизненный цикл головной вши

Methods of transmission of head lice and their spread among humans

Head lice are transmitted only from person to person, usually by direct contact. It can be children's games, sex, kisses at a meeting, hugs, classes of contact sports.

It is characteristic that lice actively infect a new person, even if their number in the parasite carrier is small, and the symptoms of infection have not yet been observed. That is why parasites actively spread in children's groups: while lice on the child's head are discovered, he already has time to infect some of his friends.

Наиболее активно вши распространяются в коллективах, особенно в детских

It is interesting

In the people there is a myth that lice at a certain stage can be under the skin and do not manifest themselves in any way until the person strongly perenervnichaet. After the "nerves" the parasites supposedly crawl out from under the skin and begin to multiply intensively. Variations of this myth are numerous, right up to the stories about cones filled with lice, and parasites in the brain itself. With the advent of new knowledge, such tales have become more "scientific" - today lice under the skin cause cancer. Of course, nothing to do with the real state of affairs such prejudices have - lice never penetrate the skin, and with the state of the human nervous system, their activity does not correlate.

Significantly less often lice are transmitted on combs, headdresses, hair bands and hoops, which are used by several people. And in very exceptional cases lice can be transmitted by water, accidentally being in a bath or pool.

The following photo shows head lice next to the invisible:

Головные вши и гниды рядом с заколкой-невидимкой


Lice can move from the lush hair of an infected person in public transport or in a crowd. Therefore, in such places should be careful.

Why are head lice dangerous?

The most common consequence of infection with lice is pediculosis. This is a set of symptoms caused by abundant bites of lice. Among such symptoms - itching, traces of bites, bluish spots on the skin, allergic reactions. In neglected cases, the person develops abscesses of the skin and even pyoderma.

На фотографии показан пример запущенного педикулеза

Head lice very rarely carry infectious agents. In rare cases, they cause typhus and so-called trench fever, but in recent years, these diseases are associated almost exclusively with lice.

Lice do not tolerate AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases transmitted with blood and lymph.

Nevertheless, the bites of lice and pediculosis themselves are extremely unpleasant phenomena, and at the first appearance of them it is necessary to begin the fight with parasites as soon as possible. About how to do it right and not to harm your health or your child's health - read in other articles of our site in the section "How to get rid of lice."

To the record "Head lice: detailed photos and features of biology of parasites" left 38 comments.
  1. Olga :

    The child began to scratch his head a few days after a half-hour game on an inflatable attraction. They jumped and rolled. We are no longer to these hills and trampolines. Wash your head with a special shampoo according to the instructions. Worth this drug is not cheap. With our problem, pharmacists in the pharmacy are very familiar. It turned out that now the problem of lice has acquired a large scale.

  2. Maya :

    I lead a kindergarten, in one of the groups there were lice, in November two children. Urgent spent all the necessary activities, but did not announce quarantine, parents usually do not want publicity. All the children were clean at subsequent inspections, in April, in the same group, lice appeared in one of the girls (and in the same one as in November). At home on the day off, my mother told the tutor by phone. In other children, lice were not found. The mother of the infected girl together with the other parent appealed to the kindergarten in the children's polyclinic, the education department, the city administration. In the kindergarten, quarantine was announced, the necessary measures were taken, and considerable funds were spent. And the child returned to the kindergarten with a certificate confirming being at home quarantine (and where is the pediculosis?) All other children are healthy! The question arises: what was the reason for quarantining?
    Dear parents, take a closer look at the health of your favorite children! Remember - these are your children, and no one except you will take care of them better than you. Love your children and do not shift the problems related to their health to educational organizations.

    • Victoria :

      At me they now these lice and nits.

      • Anonymous :

        Victoria, calm down, you just need to cut your hair and buy a remedy for lice. Or you can not sever the hair, but paint it. And lice will disappear.

  3. Sophia :

    Why do they live at all, these reptiles? Only life spoils.

  4. Xenia :

    I had lice, only children and one female, although I am 8 years old.

  5. Marina :

    I've had 2 lice, I'm scared

    • Anonymous :

      At me they were "32" times, no trouble in it or this is not present, simply the head strongly itches. It's disgusting only if you realize that you have insects running around in your head :)

  6. Christina :

    DID ONLY WITH DICHLOPHOS! I have a daughter in the 3-m class (in 2015) discovered these reptiles, and for 9 years I could not imagine that they are in general, and how they look. She was scratching her head a couple of months before the end of the school year, I tipped her, looked under her hair, did not find anything, but when again after washing her head she again sits and scratches, I'm under the table lamp - and then I'm a little bit into The syncope did not fall! And nits, and lice, just under the lamp, but just in the daylight they are not visible. And literally a couple of days before the discovery, my mother painted her head, and found this thing from me, well, we crushed her and had no idea that it was a lice, thought some beetle. So, I rather ran to the pharmacy, bought a remedy, even I do not remember which one, on an oil base. Her hair was combed well with a scallop from lice, she combed her daughters all evening, then they did to me, to my mother (grandmother). To the husband I did not do or make procedures, since. he had a short haircut and I watched him, everything was clean. In the end they rinsed them with diluted vinegar and ironed everything. All week I was scratching my daughter every evening and found nits that click! Just ironing her once and to myself passed a couple of times, hot hair dryer, washing, ironing all clothes, bedding, towels, washing the floors. On the third week again, the procedure of the daughter and me (my grandmother lives separately, so she did only one treatment, and my grandmother did not initially find anything). After a third treatment, a breathing week and again in the second week after the third treatment, she discovered a small newly hatched louse. Again shampoos against lice have bought or purchased, all over again! I again found a healthy louse in a week, probably picked up from school. Then the grandmother says: try the usual Dichlorvos, and I decided from despair. The daughter sprinkled and covered the package for 20 minutes. And myself as well. After washed with shampoo, hot hair dryer, in a week, no lice, and dry nits do not click)) A week later I repeated Dichlorvos for fixation - a daughter for 40 minutes, and I for 50 min. And that's it! That's it, it's been two months since the vacation has passed, and my head is clean, I'm constantly checking it. And we did not have any allergies from dichlorvos, there were no irritations, everything is fine. And if you do not suffer from allergies, then you can immediately try, the effect is 100%. And all these shampoos from pharmacies did not help us, maybe we have thick hair - our friends have a daughter, hair is thin, and they were taken from the first time with shampoo from the pharmacy. I do not know what it's all about, that one helps, but the other does not. But DICHLOPHOS for us was a miracle and a rescue! I made a promise to myself that when I finish fighting with these creatures, I will definitely write a review, because when she collided, she read a lot of advice and feedback, which helped me a lot in the fight. Do not lose hope! Everything will turn out!

  7. Natalia :

    Dichlorvos is very dangerous, especially under cellophane. A toxic state can develop. Once the child saw (the doctor) after such a procedure - toxic arthritis, all joints are affected, temperature, vomiting - horror. So I do not advise you to apply.

  8. Vladislav :

    To get rid easily by gasoline: it is good to moisten hair with gasoline, preferably the roots, cover the head with cellophane and tie with a towel, walk for 20-30 minutes. Will pinch the skin lightly, then go to the shower and rinse the head thoroughly with shampoo several times. Next, comb the hair over some rag to comb out all the corpses of these parasites. Next, wash the head for 3 days with shampoo to remove the smell of gasoline! Verified)

    • Nastya, 12 years old :

      I am 12 years old. I had lice. In the 2 nd grade. They smeared my head with kerosene and everything was cleansed, only my head burned, it was n * q! But I do not recommend it, because no matter how much your head is washed, it will stink, and your skin will peel off ... Lice are evil.

  9. Irina :

    Yes, a little pleasant. And shampoo does not help, and dichlorvos exactly helps, only carefully, dear moms. It is better to spray into a vial, dilute with water and apply in gloves, so that there is no burn, God forbid.

  10. Angelina :

    Vasche horror, fu. I've never had lice, I'm 11 years old, oh, how scary!

  11. Yulya :

    And I have a problem at all: if I do not come from school, lice appear immediately. This uhhh what horror, they can be deduced only Dichlorvos and hair dye, it helps me most.

  12. Elena :

    As a child there was such a case. It's horrible. It's also embarrassing to people. Dichlorvos helped.

  13. Constantine :

    Kerosene helps, 40-50 minutes on the head cellophane bag, then several times it is washed from the smell with a simple shampoo. Not so smelly and fire dangerous, like gasoline. And gasoline is tin.

  14. Anastasia :

    My child is 12 years old, do not know where these nits come from, the story is terrible! The nurse of the school with the whole class found (according to the daughter), shame shame and horror. Brought all summer, I'm 20 years old and have never been! How to fight, tell me? Kerosene, dichlorvos, paint and various shampoos and sprays do not help. To be cut off on a bald man refuses. It's a shame, he says. Tell me please!

  15. Sofia :

    I'm 10 years old, I've had lice 7 times.

  16. Daria :

    For two months my head itches, I thought seborrheic dermatitis, allergies, well, maybe bedbugs in feather pillows ... But today I caught one, then a second louse. I thought a beetle somehow (she sifted the flour before that, she also found the beetle). Googled, ooh-oh. Considered under the lamp - the head of eggs is full. Where from? I have no idea.

  17. Eugene :

    Lord, what can I do, these lice do not pass. I tried everything, nothing happens, and I'm afraid to come to school, there they go checks, they look at the head.

  18. Olga :

    Who knows? Is it enough to wash clothes and bed to protect yourself from spreading lice in the future? (it's clear with the head that we'll process it, but what about personal things?)

  19. Natalia :

    I caught a tremendous lice in my body, my daughter checked at once. She, too. The bullet rushed to the pharmacy. Has bought or purchased something very dear or expensive, that have given in a drugstore. They smeared both, all according to the instructions. The next day I caught it again, so lively and shustren. She ran back to the pharmacy, bought something more expensive. Spent a lot of money. In the end, they appeared again. I was advised to have simple, cynical water. Handled her. Now in fear I expect that they will again appear. I did not think that in our time it's so hard to get rid of them.

  20. Love :

    A person who has contracted lice, he is not guilty.

  21. Arina :

    I have lice, nothing helps me. Tell me something strong.

  22. Nastia Lee :

    I am now 15 and this is the 2 nd time, as I have lice. Right now, I have them. My head was always itchy, but my mother and grandmother looked at my head and found nothing. And here I sit and scratch my head, then I notice that there is something under my fingernail, I've looked closely - and this is a lice. I wanted to check and click, but she fell. But this is the description. And now I'm sitting, pophshikana dichlorvos with a cellophane bag on my head.

  23. Lily :

    Try pediculitis, sleep all night on a towel, I have been so gone. Do not cover anything, in the morning wash with usual shampoo and comb out with a frequent comb, from the roots of the hair starting.

  24. Vic :

    I have yellow lice, tell me what to do?

  25. Nadia :

    At the son has caught, to him 11 years, deduced with a dust. Stinks, and what to do. At first, she trimmed the nylon, and added vinegar when washing.

  26. Lera :

    I had lice, they were quickly taken out. But when comb combed, then there are some black dots on it, and I do not know what it is. The Internet writes about this a little: someone - that it's excrement of lice, others - that it's like not opened lice, something like this. Urgently need to find out what it is, and get rid of, because it's very scary. And you need to hurry, because a day later go to the competition.

  27. Tatiana :

    My daughter has a second time. We started with Pedikulen, but it's just a tin (screaming so hard that I could not listen, it burned badly). Now smeared with some oily garbage. We will see!

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